Elk bugles communicate information, such as a bull is in the area with his harem or that cows are straying too far or otherwise displeasing the bull. ©Buffalo Outdoor Center, flickr

Big yet graceful, elk (Cervus elaphus) are one of my favorite animals to spot in the wild. They are, in fact, the most abundant large mammal found in Yellowstone National Park, and paleontological evidence suggests they have had a continuous presence there for at least a thousand years.

More than 30,000 elk from about eight different herds summer in Yellowstone, and approximately 20,000 spend the winter in the park. The type of elk that lives in Yellowstone is found from Arizona to northern Canada along the Rocky Mountain chain. In Wisconsin where I live, elk have been reintroduced to our great Northwoods, and the highlight of any road trip there is catching a glimpse of one of these imposing and handsome beings.

Recently, a video produced for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation won the Best of Show award at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. To celebrate the animals’ recent movie fame, watch the two videos below, made by The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The first, titled Elk Minute—The Morning, gives you a glimpse of a herd in the wild. The second, Bugling Elk, will familiarize you with the calls of elk, should you be fortunate enough to hear them during your national park wanders.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,